Skip to main content

Where I should put the preamp when recording?

  1. MPC>Preamp>Mixer>Computer
  2. MPC>Mixer>Preamp>Computer
  3. MPC>Preamp>Computer without Mixer

Thanks for all you help, my English is not very well, hope all you can understand what I talking about.


moonbaby Fri, 03/11/2005 - 14:35

What gear do you have? I mean, you can run some pre's into the mixer, but may not have to ( a mixer is several pre's tied together).
When you say "computer" is this including the sound card? What kind? MPC? I don't see too many folks running a mixer into a preamp (unless, by "preamp" you mean a soundcard).

Groff Sat, 03/12/2005 - 12:45

If you have low latency monitoring (in&out) through the sound card, there is no need for using analog mixer in the input path. Preamp would amplify mic signal enough. Sending output from preamp to the mixer (and after to A/D) means involving another gain stage in signal path, changing inherent sound of preamp, more noise, distortion, etc.

So, the best path is: mic-preamp-converter (A/D)-(computer, recorder)

anonymous Fri, 05/20/2005 - 02:16

Re: pre...amp

auxilarysend wrote: microphone-preamp-mixer(line in)-daw

I do the same like >> auxilarysend... :D

Mic M149>>Pre Avalon AD2022>>Mixer Yamaha O2R v2(Line in)>>>Sound Card Motu2408 v2 or Layla 24bit >>> Sonar 4 >> & I'm Happy :D

But I think it will be much better if do it like this Mic>>Preamp>>Sound card.

Best Wishes,

Abdullah Al balushi

anonymous Wed, 05/25/2005 - 14:08

Alyi wrote: I f I got outboard compressor, should I compress before into the Daw?

If you like the sound of the compressor and are confident that the sound you've dialed in is just right for the song, by all means print it. Otherwise, no. Some light limiting to catch stray peaks is usually a good idea, though.

pcrecord Mon, 04/20/2015 - 03:10

@josh mckee
Choosing a signal path depends on many things ; The sound of the instrument and room, style of music, equipement available and sonic expectations to make it fit within the song.

The OP here was asking if a quality preamp should be put before or after a mixer and if the use of a compressor while tracking was a good idea.
The obvious answer is to use the shortest path to keep quality up. And it depends on the quality of each piece of gear we have. Maybe the quality of the mixer's onboard preamps are good enough to be used by them self or if they sound bad, there is no point of putting a quality outboard preamp through it. Then the compressor is the same, if you want the sound of a specific compressor, use it.. if not it can me added ITB

All my preamps goes directly to the converters, It assures me that the sound texture they offer is not altered by any other gear..

DonnyThompson Mon, 04/20/2015 - 03:19

@josh mckee

Here's the thing... the mic inputs on the Mackie mixer you have, or on any mixer for that matter, are preamps.

Some people will choose a particular separate standalone mic preamp because it may be of better quality (sonics) than those preamps that are used in cheaper mixers, but many times, those boutique standalone pre's may not have a computer connectivity format that you need (USB, FW, etc).

If you are using the Scarlett as well, you don't really need to use the mixer's mic inputs too, as the Scarlett preamp /i-o is already bringing the mic signal up to a line level, and, it also already has a digital i-o.

It's not that you can't do this, it's more about why you would want to - anytime you add a step to your gain structure, you want to make sure that doing so will be of benefit to the signal - and not a detriment.

So, unless you are doing a lot of pre-EQ'ing, ( which I'm not even sure you can do with a Mackie Onxy Mixer) or, are using the mixer inserts for OB processing before you send the signal to the DAW, then all you are really doing is adding the potential for problems by "Double-Amping", which is what you are doing when you use both the Scarlett and the Mackie at the same time. Using both doesn't really benefit you sonically. In fact, you run the risk of upsetting the gain structure, incurring potential distortion, and maybe even noise, too - which is all unnecessary. If you are recording just one or two tracks, then just use your Focusrite, and take the Mackie out of the chain.

First, because the Focusrite pre's are just as good - if not maybe even better than the Mackie's, and second, because the Mackie is not adding anything of benefit to the signal. When you use both, all you are doing is adding another link to your gain chain - and an unnecessary one at that - which can introduce problems that you don't have to deal with.

If you need higher channel counts/ more track inputs for things like drums, or a full band recording all at once, then use your Mackie Mixer and its digital i-o to get the tracks into your DAW... but then, don't use the Scarlett. Again, by doing so, you are double-amping, without any reason, and without any real benefit.

Truthfully, the only time you should use two mic preamps on one signal, would be in a situation where you have a nice standalone preamp, but that has no computer connectivity. You want the sound of the nice pre, but you still need a way to get it into your DAW, so, you would come out of the standalone preamp into the LINE inputs of a preamp which also has the digital i/o that you need... you are using the line inputs because the standalone pre has already brought the signal up to line level... further amplification isn't needed - you don't even have to adjust the gain on the line inputs of the preamp with the digital i-o, because the signal is already at the level you need. In this scenario, You are using the secondary preamp strictly for it's i-o connection, so that you can get the signal into your DAW. Basically, all you are using it for is its A-D converters.

Gain structure is crucial. It's where the quality starts - or ends - all depending on how you route the signal that you are recording. Keep the signal path as straight and direct to your DAW as possible, and eliminate any unnecessary links in that chain that aren't providing any obvious benefit (obvious benefit would be an improvement to the sonics, or, using one as a way to get the signal into your DAW)... and in your case, there is no obvious benefit to you using both the Scarlett pre/i-o and the Mackie mixer at the same time on the same signal. The Mackie won't make the Scarlett sound any better ( it may in fact lower the quality) and the Scarlet already has digital i-o.



DonnyThompson Tue, 06/02/2015 - 21:56

@Ledger Note

LN: Your question is being directed at the OP, who's post in now over 10 years old. It's not that you can't respond to posts this old, you're more than welcome to, it's just that you probably won't get a response, and even if you did, I think it's safe to assume that sometime in the last 10 years that the problem/issue was probably resolved. I'm not sure that the OP is even an active member here anymore.

You might want to look at the date of the original posts before you respond. Again, I'm not saying that you can't, you are more than welcome to do so... but getting a reply to questions you ask may not happen.